Reclamation, Metropolitan to Dedicate New 635-Acre Conservation Area along Colorado River

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California:

WHAT: Water leaders to officially launch the transformation of 635 acres of former farmland along the Colorado River into a natural habitat for protected wildlife, dedicating the property as the Dennis Underwood Conservation Area.
The conservation site was created through an easement granted by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which owns the land, to the Bureau of Reclamation for the development and management of the habitat in perpetuity. Restoration of cottonwood, willow and honey mesquite trees and other native vegetation is expected to be completed in 2021. Underwood is a former Reclamation commissioner and Metropolitan general manager.
WHEN: Tuesday, April 16, 9-10:30 a.m.
WHERE: Site of future conservation area, south of Blythe in the Palo Verde Valley
Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman; Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger; Metropolitan Chairwoman Gloria Gray; and other water leaders
VISUALS: See the site as a blank slate along the Colorado River before restoration work has begun. As part of the ceremonies, Burman, Kightlinger, Gray and others will plant honey mesquite trees to begin the transformation. Visuals of how the area is expected to look at completion also will be available.

The Dennis Underwood Conservation Area will be part of the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program, an effort launched in 2005 to work toward the recovery of endangered and threatened fish and wildlife along 400 miles of the Lower Colorado. The 50-year program will ultimately create more than 8,100 acres of new natural habitat, including riparian, marsh, and backwaters, to protect more than 27 fish, bird, mammal, amphibian and reptile species. Already, 17 conservation areas have been established. The programs cost is split 50/50 between the federal government and the Lower Basin states, with California contributing half of the states portion and Arizona and Nevada each contributing 25 percent.

Patti Aaron, Bureau of Reclamation, 702-293-8189, [email protected]
Kimitch, Metropolitan, 213-217-6450, [email protected]